Obtaining Control through Organizational Culture and Identity Processes: Solving the problem of the changing conditions of control in the context of knowledge work

Michael Jagd Rostock

Student thesis: Master thesis


The purpose of this master thesis is to provide an answer to the problem of organizational control under conditions that does not allow for the application of traditional, rational control mechanisms to be applied. In the midst of the changing composition of the business sectors, conditions serving as a prerequisite for the rational control mechanisms extensively utilized by the dominant organizational form of the industrial sector, bureaucracy, are eroding in the growing sectors of knowledge intensive industries. The characteristics of knowledge work dictate a very different approach to solving the problem of achieving effective coordination between individuals with divergent interests. Where conditions do not allow for measurement of output and description of behavior, a normative framework is required. A presentation and analysis of the fields of organizational control, organizational culture and individual identity theory serve to provide the basis of building a conceptual model for control in the context of knowledge work. Through the deliberate and focused attention to organizational culture change programs, managers can influence the basic assumptions serving as a cognitive framework providing stability and anxiety relief and effectively reducing the available choices of action. Underpinning this is the identity regulation processes that are processes of construction of self that situates the individual in the context of society, and the individual’s evaluation of self derived partly from comparison of group affiliation in society. The processes of organizational culture and identity regulation are very complex processes. Claims of construction of identity and organizational culture in detail are exaggerated, as both culture and identity are mediated processes, with a large portion of the individual’s own attributions as well as innumerable influences acting as potential contaminants. Organizational culture is not a normative framework of force. It is acting as a cognitive mental map, eliciting commitment through its stabilizing and self-esteem enhancing underlying processes.

EducationsMSc in Strategy, Organization and Leadership, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2012
Number of pages84